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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘insult’

Reparations: Insult Or Remedy? Kam Lei Bederabah Minei (Bava Kamma)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

“Judge! He killed my husband. I have seven small children and no money. And you won’t award me damages?”

“I cannot,” sighed the judge. “The law says kam lei bederabah minei.”

Kam lei bederabah minei, referred to as kam lei, means that if an illegal act incurs both capital punishment and monetary liability, the judge may only apply the more severe punishment but has no authority both to execute the perpetrator and award damages.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as if the fatal act was unintentional, kam lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Kam lei only applies when the act that incurs the death penalty occurs simultaneously with the act that incurred the monetary liability. Thus, for example, someone who steals a pocketbook out of the victim’s house on Shabbat must pay damages even though he may be subject to the death penalty for violating the prohibition of carrying on Shabbat. This is because whereas the act of theft occurred when he picked up the pocketbook inside the house, the melachah of carrying occurred afterward, when the pocketbook was carried from the private domain of the house into the public domain of the street.

If, however, the thief did not pick the item up in the house but pushed it out of the front door with his foot, he would be exempt from damages. This is because in this scenario, the theft and the Sabbath violation occurred at the same time.

According to some opinions, kam lei applies not only when the court carries out the execution of the perpetrator, mitat bet din, but also when it is carried out by his premature death at the Hand of God, karet. Accordingly, a person who burns down his neighbor’s house on the day of Yom Kippur, for which he incurs the punishment of karet, is exempt from paying damages.

When an illegal act incurs corporal punishment or lashes (malkot) and monetary liability, the rule of kam lei also applies. Accordingly, the perpetrator receives lashes and is exempt from paying damages. When lashes are not administered, such as when the illegal act was unintentional, the violator must pay damages. When, however, the illegal act injured a person, the perpetrator pays damages but does not receive lashes.

What are the legal and moral justifications for kam lei? Why should a blameless victim be denied damages when harmed by the illegal act of another over which the victim has no control? What difference does it make to the victim if the perpetrator received the death penalty or lashes? Does the death penalty or the lashing rehabilitate the victim?

A legal answer to this question is that kam lei does not wipe out the victim’s right to damages or the perpetrators obligation to compensate. The right and the concomitant obligation continue to exist. It’s just that Jewish courts of law have no jurisdiction to enforce them. But if the victim takes the law into his own hands and seizes assets of the perpetrator, he may keep them to cover his loss.

From an ethical point of view kam lei can perhaps be explained in the following way. Some crimes are so heinous in the eyes of the halacha that the suggestion that money can compensate for them is insulting. Indeed, opponents of Nazi reparations consider it adding insult to injury.

Raphael Grunfeld

Sen. Leahy: Obama Secretly Suspended Egypt Military Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

“[Senator Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

If it’s done as required by law, why is the U.S. government keeping it a secret that it believes the regime change in Egypt was a military coup? If it is, indeed, temporarily suspending most of the military aid to Egypt, where is the public announcement that we don’t send money to governments that were installed by a coup?

After skewering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard—through the good services of the NY Times—for his attempts to preserve stability in Egypt and the integrity of the peace treaty, now the administration is attempting to punish the naughty Egyptian generals, but without making a big deal out of it.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday about the suspended aid, and told reporters the aid is not officially suspended.

I suppose the Egyptians can use the officially unsuspended aid money the same way Israelis can live in the officially unfrozen homes in East Jerusalem…

“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” Psaki said.

I looked up “unobligated” and means funds that have been appropriated but remain uncommitted by contract at the end of a fiscal period. In other words, an I keep, you don’t get kind of relationship.

“But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” Psaki clarified.

In other words, I keep, you don’t get, but it’s not forever.

The Daily Beast quotes two Administration officials who explain it was the government lawyers who decided it would be more prudent to observe the law restricting military aid in case of a coup, while not making a public statement that a coup had taken place.

Bret Stephens, a deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday (A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi):

“What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.”

By taking the opposite approach, making it harder for the new Egyptian government to bring the internal conflict to a conclusion, the Obama Administration is promoting and prolonging chaos in yet another country. Which is why, I suspect, Senator Leahy has spoken to the Daily Beast in the first place, to stop this blind march over the cliff.

Middle East analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, told the Beast he thought the Administration was “trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” but he suggested that this horse is long out of the barn. “Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”

Unless, of course, the U.S. is making clear, with loud noises and a light show, that it supports stability in Egypt, and in order to hasten new elections, it will not suspend military aid to Egypt. In fact, with its financial and military might, the U.S. will do everything it can to restore stability and democracy in Egypt.

But that would require President Obama to get over the insult of the Egyptian nation ignoring his wishes and dethroning his favorite Muslim Brother president.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sen-leahy-obama-secretly-suspended-egypt-military-aid/2013/08/20/

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